Recently, I received a question from a junior officer in the Air Force. He wrote:
First up, some context – I’m not gay – nor have I ever been – but my younger brother is gay and he means to world to me. I support gay rights unequivocally. I’m not Christian, and not in any way religious.
I’m curious to hear your opinion not as a Christian, but as a military leader. How do you feel your strong (to say the least) anti-gay views have affected those under your command? Say, for example, you were placed in charge of a gay/lesbian CPL – would/do you allow your personal views to prejudice how they are treated?
I don’t write this email with any goal of antagonisation – rather, as an Officer, I personally can’t see how that kind of workplace would ever be healthy or supportive.
It is a good question and I will answer it below.
But first up, some points about the question.
My advice to the young officer is to be very careful with his words. His sentence that he is not gay, and that he has never been gay, could land him in some pretty hot water. Although he’s not said anything untruthful – people might dabble in sodomistic practices for a while and then cease – the homosexual community takes a very dim view whenever it is suggested that people can become ‘ungay’. That innocent little reflection on his life is an unequivocal attack on the sacred belief that all homosexuals are born that way, and that it is the greatest evil to suggest that they have no control over their sexual desires. Naughty, naughty.
This junior officer obviously loves his brother. That is a good thing. I love my brothers too, and I would continue to do so, even if they were homosexual. But just because you love someone, it does not mean that you accept everything that they do is good. In fact, it would be a bizarre world if the ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of actions were dependent upon how much the person in question was loved. There would be no such thing as forgiveness.
Rather, it is important to recognise that you can love someone, even though they commit evil actions. A mother may love her son who has murdered. Conversely, it should be recognised that those who engage in evil actions are also able to perform other natural acts of goodness. Homosexuals are not the devil incarnate. They can do works of natural goodness. That does not make their involvement in homosexual acts naturally good too.
This junior officer says he supports ‘gay’ rights unequivocally. That is his choice. But it is not surprising that he did not say the same thing about Christian rights. It is obvious that you cannot support both ‘gay’ rights and Christian rights unequivocally. They are at war with each other. That is why at the Mardi Gras, the premier expression of homosexual rights in Australia, such a focus is made on ridiculing and mocking Christian leaders, Christian beliefs and even Jesus Christ himself.
But considering that the world is made up of more Christians than homosexuals, this officer will undoubtedly have command over more of the former during his career than the latter. I question whether it is appropriate for him to hold an unequivocal position that will diminish the rights of his Christian subordinates. Because if he truly believes in the unequivocal rights of homosexuals, he will support their demand that Christians be punished or dismissed simply for expressing a personal view that homosexuality is immoral. And, make no mistake, that is what the Defence Gay & Lesbian Information Service (DEFGLIS) has demanded Defence do with me.
Finally, before moving into a direct answer to this question, one other point needs to be made. It seems that this junior officer believes that being a Christian and being a military leader are two distinct things, as if you cannot do both at the same time. This is not the case. In fact, it was due to my Christian principles, particularly my love for Australia and desire to serve it, that I joined. And it was due to my Christian principles that I worked as diligently as I could. Now, I accept that atheists may have similar desires. However, these desires do not logically flow from atheism. In fact, an atheistic world view necessarily argues that there is nothing good, or bad, and that random feelings are just that – random. A true atheist would not accept that they can have any thoughts, or carry out any actions that are objectively good. That would entail an objective good outside of themselves and that necessarily entails belief in God, or some god-like entity.
As atheists certainly do not believe that goodness flows from God, the ultimate source of all good, the best that they can say is that good desires are generated within. I hate to break this to them, but that is actually giving divine attributes to themselves. And if that’s the case, then they are not really atheists, but self-theists.
So Christianity (and even Islam) has a much more logical foundation for ethical military service than atheism. This is clearly obvious. Christians believe that some things are objectively evil. Atheists cannot logically argue that anything is objectively evil. That’s why there is no logical atheistic just war theory. In fact, the only reason the West has developed its theory of just war is because of Christianity. Otherwise, it would be doing to its current enemies what the Romans did when they captured Carthage: killing all who dared resist, selling the rest into slavery and then levelling the city to the ground – the old might is right argument. Or Western soldiers would still engage in paedophilic Ancient Greek practices. Any time Western militaries or soldiers have engaged in practices comparable to these it is because they have ignored Christian principles, rather than followed them.
So, how would I treat a homosexual or lesbian subordinate?
The answer is easy: the same as any other subordinate.
I would ensure that they carried out their duties and adhered to Defence policies.
I would not allow a homosexual or lesbian subordinate to be bullied, just as I would protect any other soldier under my command. And I would ensure that they, like any other subordinate, are able to express their personal beliefs. That does not mean that I would support or agree with those beliefs. However, nor would I make any decisions about their career or performance based on their support or agreeance with mine.
Certainly, as a Catholic Officer, I do not believe that I have the right as a commander to force my religious beliefs and views on my subordinates. But if asked about them, I do have the right to express them truthfully.
And as Defence policies encourage members to practice their religious beliefs, I would support the right of all my subordinates to do so. This means their right to hold views that homosexuals disagree with. To do anything less is to repress religious belief – a workplace that does this cannot be healthy.
Furthermore, as Defence policies do not allow religious beliefs to be mocked or ridiculed in the workplace, I would not allow any subordinate to mock or ridicule religious beliefs in the workplace. However, it is very important to recognise that questioning and examining a religion is not mocking it or ridiculing it. For instance, anyone who thinks that Intelligence Officers should not try and understand Islam, and the impact its ideology has on the enemies we fight, wants our soldiers to have little understanding of their enemy. That can be very dangerous on the battlefield. And if we were fighting those who used Christianity as a source of inspiration, I would certainly recommend that Defence gain a thorough understanding of the religion. It would allow it to rapidly develop a very strong information campaign to separate the enemies from real Christians and thus defeat them utterly on the battlefield and in the hearts and minds of the population.
Also, as Defence policies do not allow or support sexually-explicit behaviour in the workplace, I would not allow any subordinate to engage in or support sexually-explicit behaviour in the workplace.
Finally, as Defence policies do not allow uniformed political activity, I would not allow any subordinate to engage in uniformed political activity.
These Defence policies were undoubtedly breached when DEFGLIS was allowed to command Australian soldiers and make the Mardi Gras – a political event – a workplace. And if there is a blatant proof of the sexually-explicit nature of the Mardi Gras, it is this: the photo gallery on the official Mardi Gras website cannot be viewed on Defence IT networks without breaching Defence IT policies on sexual content. Remember, this gallery also has images of children in it – and Defence personnel marching with them and past them in uniform.
Now, I have a question for this junior officer.
What would he do if he became aware that senior Defence leadership were allowing certain members of the Defence Force to engage in or support sexually-explicit activity in the workplace, in breach of Defence policy?
Would he walk past and turn a blind eye? Or would he do something about it?
Would he put his career first, or principle first?